Fishtail Palm, Caryota mitis - Care Instructions

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Fishtail Palm - Caryota mitis

The fishtail palm or Caryota mitis is a very decorative houseplant, which requires only a few care measures. This makes it suitable for beginners and plant lovers without green thumbs. As small as their claims may be, the conditions must be adjusted to them. For only if all needs are met from the location to the right fertilizer, the fishtail palm shows all its beauty and the engaging size that make it a popular exotic in the living room.


The fishtail palm is originally from Southeast Asia, where it thrives in partially shaded to sunny places. Of course, this must be taken into account when choosing the location for the Caryota mitis. It should be bright and sunny, but not exposed to burning sun for hours. Close-up parking spaces to the east and west are ideal. For south-facing windows, either light shading at lunchtime or sufficient clearance must be ensured.
Apart from the light, it is also important to consider temperature and space requirements. Due to its warm origin, the fishtail palm feels at normal room temperatures between 18° C and 22° C well, but it may also like to be a little warmer. The lower limit is around 15° C, so the Caryota mitis can spend the summer outdoors. In their home, the palm can reach a height of up to ten meters, in the room at least a proud three meters. Accordingly, a lot of space should be available at the location.
Tip: Caryota mitis needs a lot of water and the highest possible humidity. In the bathroom or kitchen, she likes it so much.


When choosing the substrate, the fishtail palm shows neither fussy nor demanding, commercial potting soil is sufficient. If you want to promote healthy growth, you can mix a small amount of coconut fibers underneath. Alternatively, palm soil is also available.

to water

The Caryota mitis always wants to stand on wet feet in the summer, so the substrate should not dry out superficially. In dry rooms, it is also advisable to spray the palm with water every now and then. Due to its high water requirement, the fishtail palm can be washed gently. Day-long waterlogging is to be avoided. In winter the plant needs less water. During the cold months, the soil is allowed to dry off, at least on the surface. A spraying of the leaves is also recommended.
Tip: The exotic houseplant does not tolerate lime, so only soft water should be used for watering and spraying.


Due to its rapid growth, the fishtail palm must be fertilized at least once a month. This distance can be maintained even in winter, although the Caryota mitis then does not grow or at least very slowly. Optimal is a special palm fertilizer, commercially available fertilizer for green plants fulfills the purpose but also.


A blend of the fishtail palm is not necessary due to its natural habit. But if it grows too high or if dried shoots show up, it can be shortened or plastered. However, this measure should only be provided with appropriate protection. At least rubber gloves are required. Then the cutting tools used must be thoroughly cleaned.
Tip: The cut surfaces can be dabbed with water or wrapped in a wet cloth, which insulates the further emergence of sap.


Fishtail Palm - Caryota mitis

If the fishtail palm is cultivated in the room, it does not have to leave it in winter. This also applies if she spent the summer outdoors. A separate or cooler winter quarters is therefore not necessary and not advantageous. If you want to overwinter the palm tree for reasons of space outside the living rooms, you should still choose a not too cool or dark room. Although an older fishtail palm tolerates even a slight frost for a short time, it will quickly damage it. A minimum temperature of 15° C must be maintained. A special winter care does not need the Caryota mitis also. Only the casting should be somewhat limited.


The fishtail palm only needs to be repotted very rarely. A change of pot and substrate every three to five years is usually sufficient. Even if the planter is clearly too small. Because the Caryota mitis shows just the most beautiful green, when the roots encounter narrow limits. Of course, this is only the case if it still receives enough nutrients. Regular fertilization is necessary for this. If you prefer to do without fertilizer, you should alternatively do a substrate change every one to two years. The ideal time for this is in the spring, as soon as a clear growth is visible again.


The Caryota mitis can be propagated via seeds and offshoots.Already rooted shoots or offshoots are removed directly from the mother plant as soon as they have reached a minimum height of 15 cm. In the requirements of location, substrate and care, the young shoots do not differ from the adult plants. The reproduction by seeds is a bit more complicated here. For them, the following conditions must be fulfilled.
  • The selective germination of the seeds ideally takes place in spring
  • Requires a bright location without direct sunlight
  • For the multiplication by seeds must prevail about 25° C
  • Requires slightly acid substrate, loose substrate, such as potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and coconut fiber
  • Earth must always be slightly moist
Even if all the required conditions are met, germination can take up to two months.

Diseases, pests and care mistakes

The fishtail palm suffers the most from the consequences of care mistakes. Above all, too little watering or too low humidity often show up. Dried leaves or leaf tips and increased susceptibility to pests are the results. This type of weakening can cause red spiders or spider mites to appear on the Caryota mitis. Both can be prevented by regularly spraying the leaves. If they have already attacked the palm, then water is the solution again. The plant is showered lukewarm and then as airily wrapped in foil. Under the film there is a humid climate that does not get the pests. A brief airing of the film and another showering should take place every two to three days. This process is repeated until no more pests are visible.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is the fishtail palm poisonous? - Especially the fruits of Caryota mitis are poisonous, on leaves and sap to a lesser extent but also to. In households with small children and animals, the fishtail palm should therefore be out of their reach.
  • Why is the fishtail palm losing fronds? - Like many other palm trees, the oldest fronds of the Caryota mitis dry up and make room for new shoots. If the lower shoots die off, that is no cause for concern, but quite normal.

Interesting facts about the fishtail palm soon

Fishtail palm - Caryota mitis - fruits

The fishtail palm is a feather palm. The similarity of the leaves with a fishtail gave her her name. Caryota mitis is growing fast. In her native Southeast Asia she reaches heights of 10 meters. The palm often forms several trunks, creating the impression of a small group of palm trees. After about 20 years, the fishtail palm can bloom. After that the trunk dies. As potted plants, these palms almost never bloom.


  • It is important to know that the fruits contain oxalates, which means that they are poisonous. The oxalic acid acts in a similar way to formic acid.
  • One has the feeling that the hands are stuck in an anthill. It's uncomfortable, but not really dangerous. Better not to touch the flesh without gloves.


  • The fishtail palm likes a bright location, but without direct sunlight.
  • First she has to get used to the sun before you can expose her to the blazing midday sun.
  • She also tolerates quite good partial shade.
  • In summer you can put the plant well outside. In winter she should be in a living room.

plant substrate

  • The plant substrate should be permeable and slightly acidic. Older copies are sufficient normal garden or potting soil.
  • When the roots grow out of the top of the earth, that's a sign that the palm needs to be repotted.
  • Drainage on the bottom of the pot is recommended. Since the palm consumes a lot of water, it is also good to keep in seramis or hydroponic culture.
  • However, the palm must be pulled in hydroponic culture right from the start. A later conversion is usually not good, because the deep roots are quite sensitive.


  • The fishtail palm needs a lot of water, but not in the long run. You can also immerse the plant bale every now and then, so that it can suck properly full of water.
  • The Caryota mitis sometimes tolerates total dryness. It should not be a permanent state.
  • As with all palm trees, lime-free water should not be used for casting. Rainwater is better.
  • Since the fishtail palm likes a high humidity, it should be sprayed more often. Also to take lime-free water.
  • When the humidity is too low, spider mites often fall over the palm.
  • Dry, brown spots on the leaves and brown leaf tips are a sign of too low humidity or too little water.
  • If the palm looks sad all around, it indicates too much water.


  • From spring to autumn you fertilize the Caryota mitis every 4 weeks with a commercially available liquid fertilizer or a special palm fertilizer.


The fishtail palm should overwinter in the house. It can stand in a warm living room, but also a little cooler. 10 ºC should not be permanently undercut. The palm needs a lot of light and should be right next to the window if possible. Casting must be more economical.The cooler the Caryota mitis, the less water it needs. You have to make sure that there is never any water in the coaster and that you have enough time between the casting processes. The earth should only dry to 2/3. However, the plant bale should not dry out completely.

to buy

  • Fishtail palms are not expensive. A 50 to 60 cm high Caryota mitis costs only about 5 euros. For palm trees in Hydro you have to expect a little more.

Video Board: Life with a Fishtail Palm.

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